Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
10 September 2011
Grimsby Town 3 Hayes & Yeading United 0
Oh the humidity, and all the spectators eating ice cream around here.
Twenty-five cor blimey guvna not-cockernees sprawled across the mighty, mighty Osmond stand on a hot and sticky toffee pudding of an afternoon. Now, how many of those 25 are of the Hayesy type, how many are crazy Yeaders and how many are a mirage?
Town lined up in a revolutionary 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Wood, Kempson, Pearson, Green, Coulson, Disley, Artus, Makofo, Duffy, Hearn. The substitutes were I'Anson, Church, Eagle, Spencer and Elding. After Spencer's follicle follies we have the pace and aggression of Mr Fluffy to look forward to. Oh no, it's not Selwyn Froggatt, but that old 4-4-2 formation! And I thought we weren't allowed to look back, even in anger. Don't you know you might find a better way to play?
The Hayes and the Yeading turned up in a bold and beautiful blue with some callow youths and midget gems. They weren't going to overpower Town, that's for sure. Don't step on snails, don't climb in trees, even love Cliff Richard, but please don't tease H&Y for having no fans and no ground. Hey man, they have Argent at full-back. How good it feels to be alive.
The sun is up, the opponents are in blue, there's not a lot more that we can do. Let's rock.
First half: Goat's head soup
Town kicked towards the Osmond and within 30 seconds our twin towers of strength had been split asunder. A tip, tap, spin and curl of cheesy triangular passing ended with the remarkably unmarked Pacquette carefully steering straight at Jamie, Jamie, oh Jamie Mack from inside the D. That was excellent football to get to the edge of the penalty area. Some delicious Dairylea football spread upon some stale baps.
Mmm, worrying. They weren't pushovers last year and they've added style to their wit. Ah, but they have taken away some grit and polish at the back. The Haymen had football players occupying their defensive positions and they were not keen on digging trenches. Their shop is open for business: please do come in and fondle our goods.
Town's wingers stuck to the wings and the Sergeanator took off his head and played chicken with the blueboys. Things happened, moments occurred, corner corned and Pearson ran after the spoon. He turned and gurned a delightful dripping cross into the near post; Hearn arose and Hearn a-missed from six yards, glancing discreetly and distinctly wide while alone with his thoughts. He thought he should have scored, and so did everyone else.
The Hayesters drank at the well of human kindness, nicking and knocking wonderfully, alarming but disarming themselves with a fateful, fatal touch too far. Town powdered upfield and powered away through the powerful surges of the meandering Makofo and harrying Hearn. Off went Hearn past several down the right, sprinkling low through the area. Artus, a dozen yards out, leant back and wafted way over, avoiding the net with imprecision and aplomb. A corner drimbled down from a thicket; Pearson took the words right out of Coulson's mouth and sprinkled a low scrubber through and across the face of goal, nutmegging Makofo and missing by inches. You are entitled to mutter an audible "ooh".
Oh Hayes, oh Yeading, oh passing so sweetly, so deftly, we watched the parting of Town's ways with such sweating sorrow. Town were being outclassed with balls of confusion as the Heathrow hoppers tobleroned through Town. High moments of danger eased with Jamie Mack sweeping off his line to swoop on blue boots or shots skipping off black polycotton bottoms. Determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humidification, an obligation to our nation. And the band played on.
Here we go: Serge surged sergily in his crazy golf, crazy paving way. Duffy rose to fluff a header nicely to Arnold. Someone dinked and someone cried as Makofo made us close our eyes by crackling a volley out for a throw-in. Hubble and bubble, the ball dropped and Hearn gubbled a volley straight down Arnold's lane. Through the distorted blue Arnie dug it up. More this, more that, more nearly the other and Coulson lambasted from near, with Arnold scuffle-truffling away with a pooper-scooper from his shins. Pearson bonked the corner back across goal and some lad cheekily winked away from near the left post. Boy, Town, I dunno.
And all the while H&Y had mini-breaks in the Wolds, cruising down the highways and byways with the roof down and some country rock on the stereo. Runnin' down the road trying to loosen their load, they've got three away defeats on their mind. Kempson fouled a blue boy, Crockford curled a long one, Jamie Mack dived out of time. A wonderful hurling, flying parry-save to his right with the coup de grâce being the falling dove on the bouncing ball as a blue man waited to pounce.
You can take it easy from now on, don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.
Town linked and dinked. Hearn was hauled down, but hauled himself up as the referee allowed play to continue. Hearn spun again and craftily crinkled a crispy chip to Coulson, who sprinkled some salt and vinegar on a near post crossette. Bodies collided with each other and the ball rolled away from goal to curly Cadmore, a languid leggy mountbatten of a centre-back. Inside his six-yard box Cadmore espied the unmarked Duffy and delightfully levered the ball over his keeper, whereupon the Duffstar stammered a volley into the empty net. Even Duffy would have had difficulty avoiding scoring...
Hayes carried on passing but Yeading wilted. Town fizzled, Artus drizzled towards the top right corner and Arnold brilliantly flung and flew to his left to claw the ball over the crossbar. Hearn dribbled past one, two, three, four then the first one again, then the third one again, into the six-yard box, with Arnold a waxwork dummy waiting to be melted down. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Hearn wanted to waltz the ball into the net and decided to take on the first defender again. The moment disappeared up a paradox and prompted many to ponder the quantum mechanics of a Grimsby Town striker: if you put a saucer of milk inside a box would Schrödinger's cat lick it up? Or Anthony Elding drink it first? Is Anthony Elding's career dead or alive? Even Einstein didn't have a theory to explain that.
Oooooh, dear, poor old amalgamated ground hoppers of west-south-west London. Their pacy but frigid centre-back lay down clutching his legs in agony after who knows what happened. After minutes he was stretchered off and for once the Townites showed no ecstasy in someone else's agony.
In 1974 the pop power of Mud was a curious thing. Thirty-seven years later that curiosity remains, as does the Hayes left winger, Collins, who refused all invitations to swing his left foot, saving Private Wood's day with his refusal to wander across the savannah. He feared lions, when there were only meerkats and mice between him and goal. Oh well, not our problem.
Hmm, at 15:48 the power of Town's 1-0 lead was a curious thing that made some men weep, and other men sing. Hayes had been impressive and admirable in the beauty and form of their attacking intent, but Yeading had been woefully diffident in shooting, and stopping Town shooting. Town should have been four or five up, but had been embarrassed when they didn't have the ball and could have been losing. We were winning because they insisted we score, and Town finally refused to refuse to score.
A curious thing, but entertainingly so.
Second half: Get yer ya-yas out
Neither side made any changes at half time.
Just like the first half , someone was soon having a go. Someone is always having a go at Blundell Park. They kicked off, Town got it back and Coulson schmoozed Hearn free down the right. Liam the Tank Engine bulldozed his way to the bye-line, crimpled a low cross into the near post and Duffy, five yards out and unhindered by anything but his unconscious id, stumble-shinned a clearance, not a shot. He should be shot for his eternal search for the perfect miss.
As the crowd began to rumble and grumble with perpetual emotion, the ball ponged and pinged around, ending up with a Makofotronic meander into the mudflats beyond. Hearn took over, shimmy-shammied a faux Poutonion stepover drag-back, and skimmed a cross winsomely into the centre from the left. Duffy stooped and glanced into the bottom left corner as Cadmore occupied a space nearby, believing Mr Fluffy couldn't possibly score from such a distance. It defies history sir!
In all the Duffy-tinged excitement someone clipped Artus around the ear and off he went, clutching his head, to be replaced by Church.
The game was not a game no more; the Haymen had a couple of shots wide, deflected and shied nowhere. They still prettily twitched, but had no bite, only soft gums that nibbled without leaving a mark. They had ended their day trip; they were simply kicking their heels in the amusement arcade, waiting for the train back home.
Duffy went down as Town were under micro-pressure. He got up, wandered around and was replaced by Elding before the hour. Elding. No-one believes. We tut in resignation and disbelief. Someone paid money for him to attend this gathering.
Hayes' left disintegrated, with Argent no longer holding his head up as he struggled to cope with the occasional Makofo meander. Serge did his funky headless chicken to pummel a low cross. Hearn intercepted, hit the bye-line and whacked against the keeper from a yard or so out. A dink, and Bentley daintily bowed as Arnold curtsied. The ball was missed by both and Hearn stretched and stampled the ball back and passed into the net,. Alas, alack, the ball had already rolled out of play. So near, so far, such persistence, such is Liam Hearn's lot.
It was all Town, all passing the time, and time was moving. Disley rolled his man, rolled his shoulders, rolled the ball to Elding and rolled his eyes as Elding carefully rolled the ball four yards wide. Disley seared, the Makofotron reared, neared, noodled and pootled over the bar. And then he was gone. On came The Eagle of the North, whose first touch was an exquisite volleyed drifting pass to Coulson. His second touch lifted the cross over the bar. Suddenly Town started to have snap as the pace of their passing increased rather than pace of their running.
There's a difference, and it showed.
Hearn burned on the right, twisty-turning and flagellating the keeper's thighs. Disley dissed and Elding hissed back and Disley dinkled Eagle free inside the penalty area. Little Bob twisty-turned and flagellated a blue thigh, which deflected the ball over the bar. More pressure, more blocks, more shots, more things and Coulson was blocked from a short free-kick, followed by another block and deflection and corner and clearance and cross and block and clearance and corner and clearance and so on and on.
With a couple of minutes left Town got a free-kick just in front of the managers' dug-out. Wood waved and everyone waited for the mystery ball, the secret of our lives - the big punt towards Pearson. Wood slightly sliced his drive as it gently flew towards the centre of goal. The keeper took a step to his left and the players turned their backs and started to wander back upfield. The keeper hung in the air, arms aloft, hands akimbo. The ball hung up on the wind as the keeper started to descend. Arnold tried to flip back, but he just flipped in. Poor lad, he'd been excellent up until then. At least his mates in defence gave him a hug. Hey Arnold, nice guys finish last.
In added time Elding pathetically missed a sitter pathetically, but was flagged offside simply to spare him a public trial. And Church headed softly down at Arnold when the bell was awaiting its fourth chime.
It was easier than it looked, and also harder. There is satisfaction and concern. Goals galore but goals galore spurned. Town needed many bites at the cherry, but were at least creating the opportunity to have those bites. The latest Fenty tree is starting to bear some small fruit. It only takes one short, sharp frost to kill it all off though.